The intricate and seductive experience of art as a gateway for multidimensional transcendence is observed in a graceful three-woman exhibition at Visitor Center in Newburgh. On exhibit through August 19, “The Divine, The Passion, and The Magic” features paintings, sculptural installations, and works on paper by Sooo-z Mastropietro, Clara Fialho, and Michela Martello and is presented in collaboration with CAMP Gallery of Westport, Connecticut and North Miami, Florida.
In the spirit of the ancient Greek word alethia—a philosophical term meaning truth or disclosure—each artist presents an empowered creative vision that is both grounded in feminine themes while exploring the metaphysical “beyond” of mystical realms. The visual harmony between these three distinct artistic styles is utterly dazzling (this is their first time showing together) and the entire exhibition sings like a celestial summer serenade.
Entering the gallery, we meet with Mastropietro’s wall installation, MicroFiberOrganism-Spandasaurasrex (2020-22), a biomorphic form that snakes from one side of the room and around to the other in a playful slither. Getting up close to this vibrant sculptural work, one can intuit the many hours of careful sewing and placement-experimentation that it took to realize this amusing piece made entirely of multicolor fabrics. Stepping back, the overall composition and spatial engineering of these ameba-like forms hum with a joviality that is pure elation. A graduate of FIT, Mastropietro’s artistic focus on fashion and textile design reflects her loving precision with fabric as her chosen muse.
Moving into the space, we behold a series of lush oil paintings and works on paper by Brazil-born and New York-based Clara Fialho. The transition from Mastropietro’s compact fiber shapes into Fialho’s bright blowout of abstract painterly vibrations feels like a journey from the center of a cluster of atoms to their unbridled orbit in a universe of continuous cellular interconnectivity. Her artistic world-building is a living symphony of rhythm and dissolve, where shapes and shades seem to magically fuse, expand, and bounce off the canvas all at once. If artists double as theorists—in that an individual artist presents a singular artistic theory through materiality—then Fialho’s creative-cum-theoretical insight is a harmonious version of the atomic landscape writ large, and the encounter is devastatingly abundant as such.
Nestled in the back of the gallery is the pulsing heart of this show—a stunning, pink-hued, ceiling-to-floor temple-like installation consisting of upholstery panels painted with acrylic, gouache, and ink by Michela Martello. Referring to this work as a “ghost painting” transference, The Heavenly Princesses and the Barn Ripple (2022) is Martello’s intimate ceremony that honors archetypal blessings and beauty.
Her pairing of four magnificent female figures including Guanyin, Mazu, Green Tara, and a weeping Madonna who breastfeeds her infant is an all-out adoration of the Divine Feminine, and these over-sized immortals warmly welcome us into a revered space. A multidisciplinary painter born in Italy to a worldly father who cultivated her interest in Asian cultures, Martello’s engagement with Buddhist deities and exemplary divinities is a glorious re-presentation of the nourishing power and healing potential of these sacred iconographies. In this soothing sanctuary rich in symbolism, we participate in a flow of devotional bliss and robust spiritual arousal.
Thus, the notion of alethia as an artistic goddess who reveals the divine, the passion, and the magic of creative truth by way of celebratory elegance is the baseline of this sumptuous show, indeed a perfect ode to the empress of the season.